Championship Predictions

Last year John, Steph and Daniel went head-to-head in predicting the outcomes of the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League. This year, with Town back in the second division our attention turns firmly towards league football.


After taking the crown last season with the most correct predictions, Daniel has decided to bow out of the competition, leaving John and Steph in a straight shoot-out for soothsaying supremacy.


Take a look at their predictions below, and don't forget to log-in and comment your own predictions at the bottom of the article.



The Top Two


John

1st – Cardiff: When they were promoted to the Premier League, Cardiff ran a very good Wolves side close for the title. Despite suffering a disappointing season in the big time, they’ve recruited well and improved their squad.

With Neil Warnock at the helm and a settled squad, they won’t struggle to readjust to life back in the Championship. They’re my tip to do a Burnley and bounce back at first time of asking.


2nd – West Brom: Slaven Billic is the perfect ‘motivator’ for this league and he has been backed well in the transfer market. The signing of Zohore from Cardiff is a bit perplexing, but West Brom have made the signing of the season in Romaine Sawyers.


The former Brentford man will make them an attractive passing outfit this season, and I expect them to improve on their play-off finish last year.



Steph


1st – Fulham: Spent a lot in the Premier league and are hanging onto a bunch of talent. I think Scott Parker has the potential to be a better manager than he ever was as a player


2nd - Cardiff: Well resourced and I back Warnock’s style of management to pull them out of the championship once more


Play-offs


John

3rd – Fulham: On paper the Fulham squad is frightening – Knockaert, Cairney and Mitrovic will surely plunder goals in the Championship. However much the same was said last season when they failed to turn up in the Premier League.


If Jokanovic were at the helm I’d tip Fulham to win the league, but Scott Parker is an unknown quality in managerial terms. I feel he’ll just fall short with Fulham in the league, possibly losing out in the play-offs as well.


4th – Leeds: Bielsa’s side had everything last season, apart from cutting edge. New signing Helder Costa could add a lethal streak to Leeds’ profligate attack and keep them kicking around the top of the table.


They’ve strengthened well and their manager is clearly on a different level to the rest of the league. Despite their progress, there are still a number of players in the squad that performed poorly for Leeds in 2017/2018. Getting them to perform out of their skins and secure top two football feels like a step too far for Bielsa and Leeds.


5th – Stoke: Everyone tipped Stoke to win the Championship last season after keeping most of their key players from the Premier League. A 16th placed finish left many pundits red faced, but it did give new manager Nathan Jones a chance to experiment with his squad towards the end of the season.


Noises coming from the club suggest that pre-season has gone well, with Stoke starting to resemble Nathan Jones’ swashbuckling Luton team in terms of style. I think inconsistency will stop them from grabbing an automatic spot, but the play-offs should be well within their reach.


6th – Brentford: IF (and it’s a big IF) Brentford manage to keep hold of Maupay for the season and their manager then I reckon they’ll sneak into the play-offs. Thomas Frank replaced Dean Smith last season and immediately focused on solidifying Brentford’s defence.


The signing of Pontuss Jansson from Leeds should help with that, providing the team with the springboard to grab the final play-off place.



Steph


I can't firmly predict all four teams that will make the play-offs this season, but I can guarantee two of them;


Leeds United - The nearly men of Bellend Road will once again come close before bottling it in the last few weeks and subsequently in the play-offs (oh that was last season, I think they can fail short at the last hurdle again)


Huddersfield Town (Play-off Winners)- It’s not going to be an easy season and we will see some ups and downs, but I think we’ve the players and the coach to put us back up in the big time again, it won’t be the easy way, but we can relive those amazing moments from late in May in 2017


Bottom Three


John


22nd – Wigan: The Lactics were pretty poor last season, failing to kick on from their impressive League One promotion campaign. Much of that squad has been dismantled, and it showed with Wigan only amassing 52 points last time out.


More players have left over the summer, and those that have come in don’t seem capable of kicking on and improving the team.


23rd: - Birmingham: The West Midlands club have been in crisis for the past few seasons, spending ridiculous amounts of money on overrated players at the behest of ‘dodgy’ managers.


New manager Pep Clotet is a highly-rated coach, but someone who struggles with man-management and motivating players. I’d expect him to be gone by Christmas, with Birmingham dropping down by Easter.


24th: - Charlton: Poor Lee Bowyer ey? The Charlton manager was almost sacked over the summer by much hated owner Roland Duchatelet. After seeing the public outcry from fans, Duchatelet reneged on his decision and kept Bowyer on.


Instead of rewarding his manager for promotion last season, Duchatelet has done everything he can to hamstring Bowyer and the team. Important players from last season have left, and those remaining have limited Championship experience.



Steph


22nd - Sheffield Wendies: 'Cos everything Steve Bruce touches turns to dog shit and when he leaves he tends to leave a dumpster fire behind him.


23rd - Preston North End: How are they even in the championship anyway?


24th - Wigan: It’s going to be tough for little old Wigan in the championship and the majority of other teams are far better resourced.


Town's Final Position


Steph clearly thinks Town will have a good season, predicting another play-off final victory in May. Conversely, John believes that Jan Siewert's side will have a slightly tougher time in the Championship...


John


16th – On paper, our squad looks good enough to be challenging for the top six or even higher, but there is one thing standing in our way – form. Town have lost 47 of their last 76 league games, winning just 12.


Of course, those results came in a higher division against better opposition, but it’s tough to get out of a losing habit. There will be players in our squad still scarred from the Premier League experience, so it could be a season of inconsistency and disappointment for Town fans.


Town's Top Scorer


John

Karlan Grant (19) – The former Charlton man is by far the most potent attacking force in our squad and has demonstrated just that in his short time at the club. Grant will be the focal point of our attack over the season and with a bit of luck could hit 20+ goals.


Steph


Karlan Grant (89) - Has to be Grant but reckon we’ve a lot more to see from both Mbenza and Diakhaiby this season.



Town's Player of the Season


John


Juninho Bacuna – The young midfield enforcer has heart, passion and aggression, three attributes guaranteed to get Town fans off their feet. Fortunately they are all attributes suited to the Championship as well.


Don’t rule out costly errors and the odd red card over the course of the season as Bacuna is still developing and growing as a player. Do look out for full throttle performances littered with moments of technical brilliance – think back to his assist for Karlan Grant in the friendly against Montpellier.


Steph


Juninho Bacuna - Got to echo John here, he was starting to look like the player he could be at the end of last year and has taken that form into pre-season, if he’s not the player of the season he will certainly be the most improved.



So what do you reckon? Have we got it completely wrong like last season, or have we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments section, and don't forget to remind John that he predicted an FA Cup win for Town last season, inspired by top scorer Adama Diakhaby...

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